Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Back to work... and therapy

Day 2 of my inglorious return to work. My colleagues were happy to see me, and it turns out that my clients haven't all been referred out because... there is a new psychiatrist. He will be at our site one day every other week and the other site on the same rotation.

So there is a dual diagnosis recovery program... I'm just no longer coordinating it.

I am trying to feel humbled rather than humiliated. And maybe it was unrealistic to have one person at one site try to run a program at both sites. Maybe it was an impossible venture, and I was essentially set up to fail.

But I didn't respond well to the stress and frustration I encountered. As Dr. R pointed out in our first weekly session today, "You have a very strong sense of justice, and when you feel you have been treated unfairly, you become very rigid." Which leads to unnecessary conflict. In the workplace, you have to pick your battles, and getting exercised over people's failure to follow policies gets you nowhere but down.

"You win the battle," Dr. R said, "but you lose the war."

"During my first supervision session back in the office," I told him, "my supervisor was pointing out all these things I did wrong, mistakes in paperwork and stuff like that. I didn't try to defend myself -- I just acknowledged."

"That was probably a smart thing," he said. So I need to cope with unfairness -- and others' sins and peccadilloes -- more productively. I might also try to talk to some of the co-workers I trust to see if they have any feedback concerning how I handled things.

Clearly I'm not management or supervisory material. Which is fine; I never envisioned myself as such. Except my cousin Yonina just took a new job... and she'll be managing people. It was a little hard to be really happy for her on vacation, when she's accomplished so much more in her career than I have. Then again, she's not disabled. "Compare and despair," as any 12-stepper will advise you.

I'm not sure if my supervisor knows I was out due to a nervous breakdown. She's being very nice to me, but she's hard to read. I had to tell HR about the reason for my disability, but they're not counting it as such in my timesheet -- they marked it as vacation time and sick time and comp time utilized. I'm a little annoyed about this -- I applied for short-term disability precisely because I didn't want to zero out my sick time and vacation time. But everyone's being really nice, so I guess I'll let it go.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Seems to me like you can politely ask HR why they did not let you go on short term disability. Is it possible it was a misunderstanding? And do you have enough time for the Fall holidays?

    I'm glad you can talk to Roda more often now. That should help for those times you don't feel like blogging : )

  2. This was posted anonymously, and I stupidly rejected it rather than publishing it:

    Don't count yourself out from management or supervision just yet. Now may not be the time, but you're learning from your recent experience, and at a future time you may be ready.

    Also, is it productive for you to concentrate on seeing yourself as disabled? It may be better for your work history and work record to have vacation and sick time on your record rather than disability. Will you have other vacation to draw on for holidays?

  3. You're probably right, anonymous -- maybe I'm too quick to label myself. I actually do have a fairly generous vacation package, and since I will be leaving the agency within the next year (hopefully less), I should have enough to cover the chagim.

    Question is, will they let me take off chol hamoed as well as the first and last days of Sukkot? JV has his kids for that vacation, and we were hoping to visit Yaffa and Chrissy in San Francisco.